Getting engaged is an exciting and romantic time in a couple’s life. Talking about a prenuptial agreement while you are still basking in the glow of the commitment you have made to each other, however, can seem unromantic. Nonetheless, it is highly recommended to keep in mind that creating a prenuptial agreement does not mean you plan to later divorce. One of the primary reasons people get divorced is because they have disagreements about money, or children, or other fundamental issues that were never discussed before marriage. The reality is that a prenup can prevent friction that later leads to divorce because you and your fiancé take the time before the wedding to discuss potential issues upfront.
Think of a Prenup as Having a Discussion
It’s no secret that money and children can be a major source of conflict. Financial stress can especially become a problem when you don’t know each other’s spending styles and priorities ahead of time. Having children is a major decision that should involve both parties’ full commitment.
If one of you is a saver and the other is a spender, knowing this before you get married can save a lot of future problems. You don’t want to go into a marriage only to discover later that your spouse accumulated a lot of debt before marriage that you are now jointly responsible for paying. Culture and family history also plays a critical role in the approaches people take to saving and spending. A prenuptial agreement is an especially good idea if the two of you grew up in different cultures with different views about money.
One of the biggest decisions any couple can make is whether to have children. Making assumptions about what the other partner wants in terms of raising children can lead to heartache. On the other hand, discussing your thoughts and assumptions before marriage also allows you to factor the cost of raising children into your budget if you both want to be parents.
Money and children are far from the only concern when you make a lifetime commitment to someone. Although you might not be able to identify other issues you need to discuss, meeting with a neutral party can help in this regard. You might both be surprised at how relieved you feel after going through the process of preparing a mediated or collaborative prenuptial agreement.
When is the Best Time to Prepare a Prenuptial Agreement?
Ideally, you want to sit down with a lawyer to discuss potential issues at least six months before your wedding. This gives you plenty of time to consider what to include and to work out any differences you might have moving forward. A session with a lawyer also provides the opportunity to learn more about California laws regarding individual and marital assets.
Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Any couple can benefit from a prenuptial, but it is especially important for those who have been married before, have children from a previous relationship, or own a business. Since second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages, taking the time to decide about support for minor or adult children and inheritance issues is crucial.
Lastly, we recommend any couple getting married for the first time later in life strongly consider having a prenuptial agreement.
If you are in need of assistance in your family law matters, please contact Lisa R. Murray at Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law. We are committed to helping families while maintaining the highest level of professionalism. Contact us today to set up a meeting with an attorney.